How Witcher 3 Lost Me and the dangers of ‘Hardcore’ Games
The Witcher 3 is a great game. It has a wonderfully complex storyline, well written 3-dimensional characters, and a world you could spend weeks exploring and still not find everything. As a game, it’s a masterpiece, but it’s a masterpiece I can no longer bring myself to play anymore and maybe will never play again.
Sat below my TV lies my PS4, a controller and at any one time two different games. These two acts as my ‘Main’ and ‘Alt’, the main is typically the most recent game I’ve bought, something new and which I’m dying to play. The alt is typically the game that was once my main but was demoted when a new game turned up to take its place. When a game is bumped off the alt spot, I take it upstairs and put in on my shelf to be forgotten about until I fancy revisiting it in a few months time.
It’s a system that’s worked out well so far, allowing me to keep the space under the TV tidy. During May, when Witcher 3 came, it replaced Shadow of Mordor which I was replying for the dozenth time. There I came to love the world of the Witcher, found it’s characters deep and nuanced. You can read my collected thoughts on the game on this blog(Parts 1,2,3,4)
When Batman Arkham Knight turned up, The Witcher was demoted to Alt. I didn’t think B:AK would take that long to finish but what it did take was exactly long enough for me to lose interest in The Witcher 3. The thought of returning to that slow paced world became exhausting. I’d already seen my favourite part of the game in the Bloody Baron quest line and knew nothing about that game would be as good as that. Leveling had become a chore as I no longer found any quests or creatures to hunt which would reward me with any meaningful experience.
What I’m saying is that getting back into that game would be boring. A grind. Dull. I was no longer invested in the story line, couldn’t give a damn about Ciri. The tedious combat had been overshadowed by the acrobatic bombast of the Arkham Knight. Where Geralt pointlessly swings, Batman strikes with purpose, with each blow feeling powerful.
The Witcher’s treadmill of looting and upgrading equipment was superseded by that of Diablo 3’s (A game which is bloody awesome) Why did I want to farm for materials for a sword that wasn’t that great when in Diablo I could find Satan’s cock ring and become the lord of all hell (I don’t think Satan’s cock ring is a thing in Diablo, hope not anyway)
The Witcher 3 is for lack of better term “A Game for Hardcore Gamers” Calling oneself a ‘Hardcore gamer’ is typically a meaningless thing, ask a 1000 people from both in and out of ‘Gaming Culture’ and you’ll get a thousand different answers. So allow me then to try and summarise it (Only 999 left to go)
A hardcore game (To Me) is a game which demands your time. A hardcore game is one that asks you to immerse yourself in it’s systems, to know every nook or cranny of the game in order to proceed in the optimum fashion. The Souls games are a perfect example of this, complex, challenging and immersive. People dedicate weeks, even months to learn these games systems taking immense pride in doing so in ever more exotic and daft ways (look at some of the speed runs of Dark Souls)
These games can be incredibly rewarding but also incredibly off putting to people who just don’t get them or don’t have the time to try. Do I want to dedicate 20 not so fun hours to Bloodborne to get to a point where I’m almost having fun, or do I played an hour of Rocket League and have a whale of time?
I suppose what this comes down to is me favouring accessibility over difficulty. style over substance, flash in the pan fun over the longer burn (I’ve got a 100s of these similes left). I know the Witcher 3 is a great game, maybe one of the best of the year, but it’s a game that wants me to dedicate myself to it, and I just don’t want to.*
*This is also my fear was MGSV